WATCH AND SHARE: Rep. Beth McCann reads messages from ProgressNow Colorado members in support of legislation to reduce gun violence during debate Friday. Hear from moms, neighbors, and yes, gun owners and NRA members--all calling for sensible legislation to protect our communities.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, February 14, 2013 CONTACT: Alan Franklin, Political Director at 303-991-1900
Representatives Beth McCann and Rhonda Fields receive comments from ProgressNow Colorado members in support of proposed legislation to reduce gun violence. Photo by ProgressNow Colorado
DENVER: As pro-gun lobbyists continue their duplicitous attacks against legislation before the Colorado General Assembly to reduce gun violence, ProgressNow Colorado, the state's largest online progressive advocacy organization, delivered hundreds of messages in support of this legislation to the bills' sponsors fighting to win passage.
"Despite the intense campaign from the gun lobby against these common-sense bills, I've heard from so many Coloradans who understand what we are trying to do," said Rep. Rhonda Fields. "I'm thankful for the support of Colorado progressives as we take these important steps to reduce gun violence."
"Pro-gun lobbyists and dishonest Republican officials have egregiously misinformed the public on what these bills would actually do," said ProgressNow Colorado political director Alan Franklin. "It's been an uphill battle against the gun lobby's limitless financial resources and lack of scruples when it comes to misleading their supporters about proposed legislation. Fortunately, Colorado progressives are not fooled, and stand with our legislators as they work to make our state a safer place."
Here are just a few of the many comments received from Colorado progressives in support of legislation to reduce gun violence:
Tracy in Denver: "I wholly support the introduction and passage of the proposed legislation on background checks, mental health support, banning high capacity magazines, and bringing together responsible parties to act responsibly in regard to certain firearms."
Randy in Highlands Ranch: "It is time for the Colorado legislature to put the safety of our citizens before the demands of the NRA."
David in Gunnison: "I'm a gun owner, hunter, and have no qualms about the ideas such as restricting high-capacity magazines, or some kinds of 'assault weapons,' requiring background checks of gun purchases in any venue, or similar measures to help reduce use of guns in crimes of violence."
Philip in Boulder: "It is time for sensible controls to help minimize future gun violence. As someone who has known people killed from both gun accidents, as well as gun violence, I encourage you to pass reasonable reforms."
Pamela in Denver: "We need a voice of reason with all the violence in not only mass shootings, but also those that occur every day in our cities."
Alberta in Black Forest: "These are all common sense solutions to the problem of gun violence. And none of these pieces of legislation will prevent any law-abiding citizen of Colorado from owning or purchasing a gun."
Patricia in Fort Collins: "These eight measures do not prevent me or you from purchasing or owning a firearm as long as we are not mentally or physically dangerous to ourselves or other people. These measures are long overdue and I hope you will support them."
Mark in Littleton: "These are common sense measures that don't restrict legitimate gun ownership. It is high time that the responsibility of gun ownership matched the right of gun ownership."
John in Durango: "Let's avoid the baseless hysteria and deliberate distortions that seem to dominate political discussion these days and adopt ALL eight of these common sense measures to reduce gun violence. The time is now."
Phyllis in Hesperus: "It seems that any legislation about guns, ammunition, registration or control, sets the NRA and many gun owners in a tizzy, thinking it is a direct attack on them and a plot to remove their weapons and their right to own weapons. If they would control their temper and read the proposals they would see the fairness and need to protect innocent people from gun violence. Please take action and protect innocent people of all ages from the shattering gun violence that has affected so many lives."
In addition to written petition comments, ProgressNow Colorado members have begun to directly reach out to their legislators by phone via online integrated contact tools, hoping to counter to flood of calls from opponents.
"These are just a few of the hundreds of heartfelt messages we've received in support of proposed legislation to reduce gun violence in Colorado," said ProgressNow Colorado's Franklin. "The gun lobby may be adept at scaring and lying to their supporters to turn them out for protests, but an objective and sober look at these proposals makes it clear that no one is trying to take away the rights of law-abiding Coloradans to possess guns. Colorado progressives urge our legislators to not be fooled or intimidated by the gun lobby or their misinformed pawns--and to stand firm on the side of reducing the scourge of gun violence in our state."
Colorado Senator caught red-handed spreading falsehoods to constituents
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday, February 13, 2013 CONTACT: Alan Franklin, Political Director at 303-991-1900
DENVER: Learning today of evidence that Colorado Republican legislators are falsely informing constituents that Democrats in the General Assembly are proposing to "prohibit and criminalize the private transfer of firearms," ProgressNow Colorado, the state's largest online progressive advocacy organization, demanded Republican legislators immediately stop misleading and inciting the public.
"It's been a mystery why so many citizens have shown up at the Colorado Capitol in a state of panic about what proposed legislation to reduce gun violence in Colorado might do," said ProgressNow Colorado political director Alan Franklin. "Now we know what's been happening: Republicans have been irresponsibly spreading lies and fear about these proposals. We call on Republicans to immediately stop lying to their constituents, apologize to fellow representatives whose legislation they have grossly misrepresented, and set the record straight with at least as much vigor as they spread these lies."
An email from GOP Sen. Mark Scheffel of Parker to his constituents, posted to a local political blog today, falsely claims that Colorado House Bill 13-1229, sponsored by state Representatives Rhonda Fields and Beth McCann, would "prohibit and criminalize the private transfer of firearms." In truth, HB13-1229 closes a loophole that allowed many firearms to be transferred without a Colorado Bureau of Investigations background check, and simply requires those checks on most private transfers of guns--just as is already done today at gun stores and gun shows. 
The language in Sen. Scheffel's message to constituents appears to have been duplicated verbatim from a National Rifle Association alert on the bills. 
"There is absolutely no excuse for a Colorado senator to brazenly lie to his constituents," said Franklin. "If outside groups like the NRA want to mislead their supporters, that's one thing. But a Colorado legislator has a higher responsibility to tell the truth about the bills they are considering. By claiming to his constituents that a bill to simply close the background check loophole would 'prohibit and criminalize the private transfer of firearms,' Sen. Scheffel has broken the trust the voters have placed in him."
"Colorado," said Franklin, "needs representatives who are honest with the public they serve. Once again, Colorado Republicans have failed that test."
President Barack Obama powerfully made the case for taking action to reduce gun violence in his State of the Union address yesterday--and today, the fight for common sense reform is ramping in our state. The misinformation is flowing thick at the Colorado Capitol from the gun lobby, and we need your help right now to stand up for what's right.
Two important bills to sensibly reduce gun violence are headed for the full Colorado House as early as Friday. These are two of the most popular and most basic reforms proposed by Colorado progressives to reduce gun violence in the wake of devastating mass shootings in Aurora last summer and elsewhere.
The two bills we need your help to pass TODAY are:
House Bill 1229, closing the background check loophole. This legislation will require background checks for all gun buyers, regardless of how they acquire their guns. The bill also includes provisions to enhance the real-time sharing of mental health data between state and federal agencies; and a provision to allow individuals denied access to firearms to appeal those denials. The bill is supported by the Colorado Bureau of Investigations, the agency responsible for conducting background checks for firearm purchases in Colorado.
House Bill 1224, prohibiting the sale of high capacity ammunition magazines. This bill will ban the sale and transfer of new ammunition feeding devices (magazines, strips, and drums) capable of accepting more than a prescribed number of rounds (10 to 15 based on different versions of the bill).
The gun lobby is flooding the state Capitol with misinformed citizens who have been fed all kinds of nonsense about what has actually been proposed. Once again, the facts: if you own guns, no one is coming to take them. If you are a law-abiding citizen who wants to legally buy a gun, no one is trying to prevent that. This is Colorado, and we respect the rights of our law-abiding neighbors to protect themselves and their families. These bills are not a "slippery slope," they are simply about common-sense steps we can take right now to save lives in Colorado.
In response to terrible mass shootings last year, including the tragic deaths of 12 people and wounding of dozens more at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, progressives in the Colorado legislature unveiled a common-sense package of new legislation yesterday to better protect the citizens of our state from gun violence.
Right wing groups are flooding the airwaves with misinformation about what these proposals would do. We're here to set the record straight: if you own guns, no one is coming to take them. If you are a law-abiding citizen who wants to legally buy a gun, no one is trying to prevent that. This is Colorado, and we respect the rights of our law-abiding neighbors to protect themselves and their families.
Here are the simple facts on the eight gun violence prevention measures announced yesterday:
Assault Weapon Responsibility Act - (Senate President John Morse, Representative Beth McCann) This bill will create strict liability for manufacturers, sellers, owners, and possessors of firearms, with the exception of handguns, bolt action rifles and shotguns.
Firearm Background Check Modernization Act - (Representative Rhonda Fields, Representative Beth McCann, Senate Majority Leader Morgan Carroll) This legislation will require background checks for all gun buyers, regardless of how they acquire their guns. The bill also includes provisions to enhance the real-time sharing of mental health data between state and federal agencies; and a provision to allow individuals denied access to firearms to appeal those denials.
High-Capacity Magazine Ban - (Representative Rhonda Fields, Senator Mary Hodge) This bill will ban the sale, transfer, and ownership of all new ammunition feeding devices (magazines, strips, and drums) capable of accepting more than 10 rounds, after the enactment date of the bill. Additionally, it will prohibit the sale or transfer of large-capacity ammunition feeding devices lawfully possessed on the date of enactment of the bill.
Mental Health Support - (Representative Beth McCann) The bill directs mental health professionals to notify the CBI if in their professional capacity they conclude that a person poses a danger of serious physical harm to self or others. CBI would then place that person's information into the Insta-background check database so that the person would not be able to purchase a gun. Additionally, the bill would direct that an individual be assessed by a mental health professional for danger to possess a firearm at the time of release from civil commitment, if that commitment was for dangerousness. If the person is assessed dangerous to self or others, the mental health professional would notify CBI so that the person would be flagged in the system. The bill provides an opportunity to have gun rights restored to individuals through the courts.
Domestic Violence Safeguards - (Senator Evie Hudak, Representative Beth McCann) The bill will strengthen the protections in our laws to prevent those who have domestic violence convictions, or protective orders issued against them, from possessing firearms. This will help protect victims of domestic violence from further violence by clarifying state statute to comply with federal regulations and ensure those already convicted of a domestic violence crime, or who have a protective order against them, cannot access weapons.
In-Person Training for Concealed Carry Permits - (Senator Lois Tochtrop, Representative Jenise May) The legislation specifies that concealed carry permit holders, who are not exempt from training, must undergo training in-person. It prohibits training from being done online.
Closing the Background Check State Subsidy - (Representative Lois Court, Senator Rollie Heath) This bill would end an existing state subsidy and could reduce wait times by requiring individuals to pay for their own background checks from the CBI - which cost about $10.
Campus Safety - (Representative Claire Levy, Senator Rollie Heath) This bill clarifies that concealed carry is prohibited in most areas on college campuses in Colorado, including stadiums and arenas, to help keep our young people safe and our college campuses secure from violence.
Yesterday, Speaker of the House Mark Ferrandino said it best: "As a civilized society, we cannot stand back and wait for another Columbine, another Aurora." These are some common-sense measures Colorado can take right now to reduce gun violence--and to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them, without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens to own guns.
It seems like every time this issue is brought up, the extremist right wing tries to irrationally derail the conversation. But Speaker Ferrandino is right: the time is now to take common-sense action to protect our communities from gun violence. Thanks for your help cutting through the noise at this important moment: this time, it could really help save a life.
This afternoon, an exciting new bill to allow for "voter preregistration" of 16 and 17 year olds to vote (once they turn 18, of course!) will be heard in the Colorado House State Affairs Committee. This legislation is simple: a preregistered voterʼs registration will be listed as "pending" until activating on his or her 18th birthday.
Voter preregistration is a great way to get the next generation of voters involved in the election process. The fact is, more than half of eligible 18-29 year olds in Colorado are not registered to vote. Preregistration has shown in other states (13 other states have some form of this law on the books) to increase the likelihood of voting by young adults--and also increases the long-term civic engagement of these voters.
Please take a moment right now to call or email members of the House State Affairs Committee, and urge them to vote YES on House Bill 13-1135 this afternoon!
House State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee
Rep. Su Ryden, Chair - Phone: 303-866-2942 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Rep. Joe Salazar, Vice-Chair - Phone: 303-866-2918 E-Mail: email@example.com Rep. Tim Dore - Phone: 303-866-2398 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Rep. Jeanne Labuda - Phone: 303-866-2966 E-Mail: email@example.com Rep. Dan Nordberg - Phone: 303-866-2965 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Rep. Mike Foote - Phone: 303-866-2920 E-Mail: email@example.com Rep. Jovan Melton - Phone: 303-866-2919 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Rep. Ray Scott - Phone: 303-866-3068 E-mail: email@example.com Rep. Steve Humphrey - Phone: 303-866-2943 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Rep. Dominick Moreno - Phone: 303-866-2964 E-Mail: email@example.com Rep. Angela Williams - Phone: 303-866-2909 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks! Preregistration is something simple we can do to increase the electoral participation of youth in Colorado. That's something we can all support! Today is just the first step for this important legislation. Stay tuned, and we'll keep you informed as this bill makes its way toward becoming law.
PS. Read the full text of House Bill 13-1135: click here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, January 29, 2013 CONTACT: Alan Franklin, Political Director at 303-991-1900
DENVER: After major announcements in the last two days of a renewed focus on comprehensive immigration reform efforts in Washington, D.C., ProgressNow Colorado, the state's largest online progressive advocacy organization, thanked leaders in both parties for bringing this critical issue back to the fore.
"Once in awhile, hope breaks out in Washington instead of the usual acrimony and gridlock," said ProgressNow Colorado political director Alan Franklin. "Between yesterday's announcement of a new push in the U.S. Senate for comprehensive immigration reform, and today President Barack Obama's declaration that 'now is the time,' supporters of a comprehensive solution to one of our nations' most vexing problems have more reason to hope now than we have in years."
Yesterday, the so-called "Gang of Eight" bipartisan group of U.S. Senators, including Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, announced a plan that provides a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the United States, along with tighter border enforcement and controls on visas. Today, President Obama offered an even bolder plan for reform, while expressing support for the work done in the Senate. These developments represent the most significant movement on the issue of immigration reform in at least the last five years. 
"A major debate on the issue of immigration to America is about to begin, and it's years overdue," said Franklin. "For far too long, attempts to achieve a comprehensive solution to immigration have been stymied by obstructionist conservatives--obsessed with radical, harmful, and unworkable solutions to this complex, decades-old problem. What progressives want is a solution to immigration that is fair to immigrants seeking prosperity and American workers fighting to preserve theirs. Progressives want a realistic pathway to citizenship for those who desire it, and to secure our borders in a sensible and humane manner. We look forward to engaging our members and Colorado public officials in this discussion."
"After years of thinking small on this issue, it's time to think big," said Franklin.
I'm really proud of this. This past weekend, something really cool happened that's spreading around the country. Denver Nuggets star Kenneth "Manimal" Fariedcame out in support of civil unions, in a special video message featuring Faried and his two moms--Carol and Waudda.
Don't miss this heartwarming message from Faried and his two moms, who have been together as a committed couple for eleven years. Faried's birth mother, Waudda, has lupus, and the protections of a civil union have been vital to help Carol care for her partner.
Overcrowded classes, narrowing curriculum, skyrocketing higher ed tuition. We can do better!
If, like me, you believe that it's way past time for the Colorado legislature to fund preschool, K-12 and higher education in a way that ensures success for every student, here's your chance to raise your voice. This Wednesday, January 30th, our friends at Great Education Colorado, together with the growing Year of the Student coalition, will deliverthousands of signatures to our Colorado legislators and Gov. John Hickenlooper, calling on them to reverse years of huge cuts--and create a plan this year to reinvest in public education.
The fact is, after a billion dollars in cuts during the recent recession, we as a state have failed to make the investment necessary to be sure every Colorado student, from pre-school to graduate school, receives the best education available. In 2013, it's time to take action.
Today, the "Colorado ASSET" bill, which will allow all qualified Colorado resident high school graduates to attend college at in-state tuition rates, is expected to pass its first test in the Colorado Senate Education Committee.
The fact is, we have already invested thousands educating all of the children who will benefit from Senate Bill 13-033. We have invested in their K-12 education, and these students have responded by succeeding academically in Colorado schools. By providing a path to these bright students to continue their studies, all we're doing is following through on an investment we've already made.
Colorado has a constitutional obligation, backed by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, to provide a K-12 education to every child in our state regardless of their documentation or immigration status. It therefore makes no sense to create barriers for children who have demonstrated academic success in Colorado schools to completing their education. By making college an attainable goal for all Colorado students, ASSET will increase revenue for our cash-strapped institutions of higher education.
Remember, Colorado ASSET will only allow the children affected by the bill to pay in-state tuition at Colorado colleges and universities provided they can meet the following criteria:
The student must have already attended a Colorado public or private high school for a minimum of 3 years.
The student must have graduated from a public or private high school in Colorado, or received their general equivalency diploma (GED)--here in Colorado.
And of course, the student must meet all of the academic requirements and be admitted to a Colorado institution of higher education.
Many of the currently undocumented students who would benefit from Colorado ASSET are already working their way through the U.S. immigration system and are able to be legally employed. All other students who might benefit are required to seek lawful presence as soon as possible.
Thank you. This is legislation that I expect to pass with at least some bipartisan support, but it's critical that we as progressives do everything we can to educate our friends and neighbors, and dispel misinformation. I support Colorado ASSET because it's the right thing to do, and the right thing for Colorado's competitiveness in a global economy.
And working together, our great state is going to take this positive step.
Read the full text of the Colorado ASSET bill as introduced here.